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Start: Cowes Sunday 12th August 2018
1 epic non-stop 1,805nm race
1 long test of endurance
1 major achievement
Today, the Royal Ocean Racing Club announced the continued support of leading Dutch yacht transport and logistics company, Sevenstar Yacht Transport who remain title sponsor of their most tactically challenging offshore race, run every four years: The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2018.
The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with another big entry for the Morgan Cup Race from the Solent to Guernsey, Channel Islands. 120 yachts have entered the race, the second largest entry so far in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship.
As with all RORC races starting from the Royal Squadron Line, the 125-mile race will require strategy at the start to negotiate the complex tidal streams and shifting winds of the Solent. After crossing the open waters of the English Channel, competitors must negotiate the Casquets, west of Alderney, followed by the rocky west coast of Guernsey and the Les Hanois Lighthouse on the exposed south western tip of the island. Approaching the finish competitors will experience some of the biggest and strongest tides in the Northern Hemisphere.
Last year's winner of the Morgan Cup was Ker 39 Erivale III, skippered by former Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Mike Greville. Mike will be taking part in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, for the 18th time, racing Erivale III in IRC One.
“We will be racing to Guernsey with much the same crew as last year, friends and family, a mixture of youth and experience.” commented Mike Greville. “We have had a good start to the season and that consistency comes from having a boat which Is proven and which we know well. This year's Morgan Cup looks like a windy affair, so quite different to last year and that will be good to experience for our build up to the Fastnet. I have many memorable moments of the Fastnet Race over the years but I think doing over 20kts on this Erivale in 2007, downwind in pitch dark crossing the Irish Sea is up there!”
Swiss sailor, Oliver Heer will skipper Sailing Logic's First 40, Lancelot II, for the Morgan Cup Race. Photo: RORC / Paul Wyeth
In IRC Two, seven First 40s will be racing including five teams from Hamble based yacht racing school, Sailing Logic, that has won the RORC Sailing School Boat of the Year 11 times in the past 12 years. Swiss sailor, Oliver Heer will skipper Lancelot II for the Morgan Cup Race, which is currently third in IRC Two for the season.
“I am sure we will enjoy a great battle with the other First 40s that are on the starting line, and we hope to be the first of them to make it to St. Peter Port.” commented Oliver Heer. “Racing against similar boats definitely helps us to push that little bit more. The crew have all sailed before but they are pretty much novices in terms of offshore racing. Our main focus is to defend the RORC School Boat Trophy and we have four months to train the crew and this weekend, we will also focus on defending our podium position in IRC Two. For me this is a very rewarding job, as I see how quickly the crew progress and develop their skills, and myself and my co-skipper keep coaching them to improve. Safety is the number one priority, we push hard but you have to balance that with keeping a crew safe and well.”
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship consists of a testing series of races which attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the Season's Points Championship is a real challenge. The Season's Points Championship this year includes the tactically and physically challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht races in the world.
Dutch Ker 46, Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman, is the winner of the 2017 North Sea Race, having won both IRC and ORC overall.
Powerful thunderstorms, driving rain and wind speeds ranging from thirty knots to complete shutdowns provided epic conditions for the 256-mile RORC Myth of Malham Race. James Neville's FAST40+ Ino XXX won the gruelling 256-mile marathon, correcting out under IRC to take the overall win in the 140 boat fleet. Artur Skrzyszowski's Polish Reichel Pugh 48 Selma Racing was second and Windward Sailing's CM 60 Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders was third.
YB tracking of the RORC North Sea Race 2017 can be found at:http://yb.tl/northsea2017
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Follow the RORC Myth of Malham Race live with YB tracking via AIS
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RORC Myth of Malham Race
Saturday 27th May, 2017
Cowes - Eddystone – Solent (256 Miles)
Over one hundred and forty yachts, representing nine different countries, have entered the RORC Myth of Malham Race, the largest RORC fleet to race since the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. The Myth of Malham Race starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes with the first mark at the Eddystone Lighthouse, off Plymouth. In essence the first 130 miles of the race mirrors the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, with tactical and strategic decisions to be made along the tidal headlands of the south coast of England.
The RORC fleet is as diverse as it is sizeable with world record breaking offshore yachts, racing against Corinthian Two-Handed teams, production racer cruisers and just about everything in between. The race also carries a points factor of 1.2, increasing its value for teams looking to stack up points for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Rambler 88 project manager Mick Harvey confirms that George David's American Maxi, Rambler 88, will be taking part in a full RORC programme, leading up to the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race.
"George is a RORC member and a long-standing supporter of the club, and he is spending some time in Europe this year and thought it would be great to support the RORC with a full campaign in the Season's Points Championship" commented Mick Harvey. "Rambler 88 will be competing in five RORC races; the Myth of Malham, Morgan Cup, St. Malo Race, the Channel Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race. Another factor that has influenced the decision is that we are likely to get more wind in the RORC races than we have experienced in the Mediterranean, and the boat just loves the breeze. The RORC races, especially the Myth of Malham, are great preparation for the Rolex Fastnet, which for us is definitely unfinished business. Rambler 88 will be racing with their full team including Brad Butterworth and Andrew Cape in the afterguard."
Stuart Greenfield's Half Tonner Silver Shamrock (Warsash Spring Series)
The smallest yacht taking part in the Myth of Malham will be Stuart Greenfield's Ron Holland Half Tonner, Silver Shamrock, racing Two Handed with co-skipper Nathan Steffenoni. Last year Silver Shamrock won the Two Handed Class and IRC 4 in the Myth of Malham Race.
"I managed to snap the rudder after the Cervantes Race at the end of April, my good friend John Corby is building a new one and I am sure we will make the race start " commented Stuart Greenfield. "With 140 bigger and faster boats, the main thing for us at the start is to stay clear or we will just park up in disturbed air. Before Portland Bill, we will be making sure we have a good kedge anchor ready to go, as we are unlikely to make the tide. Last year, we were there for four hours but it paid to kedge rather than go offshore. The Rambler crew will probably finish this race and be home in bed before we get near Eddystone Lighthouse but I don't see that as a disadvantage. I love the challenge of racing shorthanded in a small boat that is over 40 years old and 230 miles doesn't bother me. We did the 400-mile RORC Ushant Race last year, the longer the better, as we get more time to enjoy ourselves."
Halvard Mabire & Miranda Merron's Class40 Campagne de France (Rick Tomlinson)
A clutch of well sailed Class40 will be taking part in the Myth of Malham, including Harvard Mabire Campagne de France racing with Miranda Merron and Ronan de Kersauzon.
One of our priorities for the season is to win the RORC Championship, and the Myth of Malham is an important race for that and also as a practice start for the Fastnet." commented Miranda Merron. "For a Class40, a 230-mile race is a sprint and especially as we are three up, I doubt if we will really get any proper sleep. With water ballast we hardly ever have crew on the rail but with stacking permitted, short tacking is physically exhausting, as we move everything to the windward side of the boat. This is often done very enthusiastically, so I tend to wear a crash helmet when the kit is flying around. There is a very competitive fleet for the Myth of Malham, and we expect the result to be very close."
Spectators will get a great view of the fleet from The Green at Cowes or vantage points at the Hurst Narrows.
Second-guessing the winner under IRC among the 340 boats competing in August’s Rolex Fastnet Race is tough. The outcome of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial flagship event will depend on the weather: A brisk start should favour the big boats; a light start and lively finish the smaller ones, but it is not simple given the race’s complexity with headlands and tidal gates to negotiate, shipping and Traffic Separation Schemes to avoid, the mix of coastal and oceanic sailing, amid the largest fleet of any offshore race in the world.
There is one unifying factor: the winner will be one of the smartest and most talented crews, sailing the best prepared boat, courtesy of the IRC rating system that aims to create a level playing field for all types of boats competing.
The Vice Admiral’s Cup concluded today on the central Solent in lighter 10-13 knot winds, this time blowing from the east. The leaderboard was so tight across the seven classes of one designs and level rating boats, that in many discards decided their outcome.
In the J/109s, the final day brought about a change of leader with Robert Stiles on Diamond Jem edging out David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish by a point, in turn finishing one point ahead of Simon Perry’s Jiraffe. "It has been very, very close racing," admitted Stiles. "We won it on the last tack going into the windward mark. It has been a real ding-dong all through the event. We are delighted to have won it two years in succession."
Jumping Jellyfish had managed to get the overlap on Diamond Jem at the final mark of the first race to finish ahead but in today’s second race Diamond Jem turned the tables. "It has been three days of great sailing," said Stiles. "It is a really nice regatta and there were some great courses."
The crew of McFly celebrate their class win - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Racing in the J/111 class also came down to the last race with Tony Mack’s McFly managing to beat Martin Dent’s World Champions on Jelvis by a mere point. "It has been a fantastic three days," said Dent. "It has been a fantastic variety of racing – we have had all conditions. The Vice Admiral’s Cup does proper justice to a one design fleet and it is credit to the race team in setting courses that are challenging, but fair."
Today Jelvis claimed the first race after winning the pin at the start. Prior to the start of the second race Jelvis and McFly were involved in a match racing style dial-up. Jelvis then sailed their opponent away from the start area but then at the gun they got held up by another boat that was OCS, enabling the wily Mack to get away. As a result McFly beat Jelvis to the overall win by just a point.
Aguila leads to claim the win in the Quarter Ton Fleet - copyright Rick Tomlinson
In the Quarter Tonners, Sam Laidlaw and his crew on Aguila hung on to claim the win, adding the Vice Admiral’s Cup to what has so far been an unbeaten run this season. However this was despite the best endeavours of Louise Morton’s all-female team on Bullit which lived up to their boat’s name winning both of today’s races, leaving them second but only by a point.
"We went out to defend our second place," explained Morton. "Today our hoists and drops went well and we won the committee boat at both starts. We beat Aguila in both races but there weren’t enough boats in between us. We had a very strong crew. We have had Helena [Lucas – Paralympic 2.4mR gold medallist] on board for the last two days – she was amazing on tactics."
Bullit came out ahead on the second beat in today’s first race but led at the first weather mark rounding in the second. "It was a very good event," concluded Morton. "We had eight very short sharp windward-leeward races with minimal hanging around. The race management was very good."
Riccardo Pavoncelli: victorious Vice Admiral's Cup winner with Gaetana 3 in the Diam24od class - copyright Rick Tomlinson
In the Diam 24od trimaran class there was an unexpected winner in Italian Riccardo Pavoncelli’s Gaetana 3 after being awarded redress for a collision in Friday’s first race. They won today’s first race and the Vice Admiral’s Cup overall by 1.5 points from Diam importer Paul Wakelin’s Fluid Boat Services, Buzz. Gaetana 3 crewman Andy Greenwood said: "Today was perfect - there was less breeze than the first two days and the racing was closer because of that. And as it was day three, people were a bit more confident and there were more lead changes." This was the Gaetana team’s first event in the Diam24 having only acquired their boat in March.
Alex Mills and crew of the invincible Invictus - copyright Rick Tomlinson
After scoring bullets in both yesterday’s long round the cans races, Invictus, with Sir Keith Mills’ son Alex helming, won the last of today’s three races to claim first place overall in the FAST 40+ class by eight points from New Zealander Mark Rijkse’s 42° South. Rijkse won today’s first race but, along with Johnny Vincent’s Pace, was OCS in race two.
"I am chuffed to have put in a good result in early doors," said Mills, who’s family was out watching the racing today. "Last year we started badly and we were always trying to catch up, so to have won first up is fantastic and to do it in such as tight fleet as well. Right down to the last race it was neck and neck at the top and there doesn’t seem to be any team much faster than the rest. It will be a super close year."
Despite the tide being on neaps, the left, mainland side of the race course paid today and according to Invictus’ tactician Robert Greenhalgh this made the starts difficult with everyone fighting for the left. "Then you had to sail in high modes upwind to try and peel off guys to windward of you, hopefully before you got to layline."
Otherwise of the Vice Admiral’s Cup, Greenhalgh commented: "It has been fantastic – exactly what everyone hoped for. It was good racing, good race management."
Richard Powell's Marvel: top scoring SB20 - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Richard Powell’s Marvel scored her fifth consecutive bullet strengthing her position in the SB20 class to win with an eight point margin over former World Champion Jerry Hill on Sportsboatworld.com. However Hill fought back to claim today’s final race. "It was not quite enough - it was always going to be hard after Marvel’s day yesterday," he said. "Today it was quite nip and tuck in the first race, but they got ahead and tacked on us on the first beat which meant we had to clear our air and overstood. In the second race they got nabbed on the start line by David Chapman and had to go the wrong way up to clear. We were just ahead of Chapman at the first mark and we then managed to extend. It’s been a really nice few days – good breeze, a good variety of courses."
Ben Meakins' Polly: champions of the Impala 28s - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Apart from Marvel, another boat to score nothing but 2s and 1s at the Vice Admiral’s Cup was Ben Meakins and the crew of Polly in the Impala 28 class.
"We’ve had a great time - a good range of conditions," said Meakins. "We got pushed quite hard by Two Frank yesterday. Today it was a nice wind direction and not too shifty and it was about getting your starts right. We’ll definitely come back next year if we’re invited. We’d hope to get double figures [entries] next year."
The Vice Admiral’s Cup concluded this afternoon with a prizegiving at the RORC Cowes clubhouse.